Mindfulness awareness is fundamentally a way of being and accepting moment-to-moment experiences, including physical discomfort and difficult emotions. It is a deep awareness, a knowing and experiencing of life as it arises and passes away in each moment. This awareness involves freedom from grasping and from wanting anything to be different. It simply knows and accepts what is here, now. Mindfulness is about responding to life’s events without conditioned patterns of reacting to an event. It is important to learn to see the world this way, because how a person perceives and frames each moment generates their reality.
Mindfulness exercises serve to increase awareness of sensations, emotions and thoughts, to provide self-regulation strategies, and to promote healthy and adaptive responses to stress. Meditation exercises include the body scan, sitting meditation with focus on the breath, and mindful movement, among others. Mindfulness skills can lead to reduced physical and mental symptoms, behaviour changes, cognitive improvements, enhanced self-management, as well as increased relaxation and acceptance. Mindfulness practices have been shown to alter parts of the brain involved in learning, memory, emotion regulation, and perspective.
Therapeutic benefits of mindfulness training have been documented in several clinical populations including chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. Mindfulness practice appears to also lead to positive psycho-biological changes in non-clinical settings.